What schools will benefit from Pupil Equity funding?
Around 95% of schools in Scotland will benefit from this additional funding – this covers every local authority area. See school allocations for 2017 to 2018.
What about school pupils who won't receive this support from the Pupil Equity Fund?
Although the Pupil Equity Fund must help to support children registered for free school meals, headteachers can use their judgement to include additional children as part of the school's approach to help pupils affected by poverty.
The Pupil Equity Fund is additional funding, on top of the existing almost £4.5 billion invested in school education annually. Through the Scottish Attainment Challenge we are also supporting the Challenge Authorities and Schools Programme from a separate funding stream which will continue in 2017 to 2018.
How will the Pupil Equity Fund work with the existing Scottish Attainment Challenge funding??
We know that Challenge Authorities and schools involved in the Schools Programme, identified as a result of high concentrations of pupils living in poverty, have already embarked on work to close the poverty-related attainment gap.
They have been invited to submit proposals for funding requirements for 2017 to 2018 and we expect to be in a position to confirm allocations before the end of May 2017. This will enable those involved to continue to take forward activity already underway to add to and complement Pupil Equity Funding funded activity.
How will the Pupil Equity Fund be paid to headteachers?
Funding for 2017 to 2018 will be paid by the Scottish Government to local authorities by means of ring fenced grant which will clearly indicate the amounts that should be allocated directly to each individual school, along with the terms and conditions for its use.
Local authorities will confirm the arrangements for allocating the funding directly to schools.
How will local authorities support and challenge schools to use their funding?
Local authorities may issue complementary guidance about how the funding will operate locally. This might include the arrangements for schools to partner with each other, their local authority and school communities, to agree the use of the funding and ensure best value in the activities, interventions or resources that they deliver.
Does the Pupil Equity Fund follow a pupil if they move between schools?
The Scottish Government will allocate to schools annually and do not plan to adjust allocations in-year.
Will grant aided schools/the independent sector benefit from the funding?
As grant aided special schools are publicly funded schools, they will be allocated funding based on their free school meals registration figures. Independent schools are not eligible for this funding.
Why are we using free school meal registrations to allocate this funding?
We are using the best available data to estimate the number of children most affected by the poverty related attainment gap at school level.
We will continue to work closely with local authorities across the country to improve the data we have on free school meal registrations.
Pupil Equity Fund beyond 2017 to 2018: will allocation amounts and methodology stay the same?
Yes, Pupil Equity Fund is part of the £750 Scottish Attainment Fund that has been committed over this parliamentary term and will continue beyond 2017 to 2018.
The methodology and allocations may change, however, as we improve the data that we have on free school meal registrations, but this will be discussed with local government.
What can headteachers use the Pupil Equity Fund for?
The funding can be used on resources (including staff), provided that it is used to help improve outcomes for children and young people who are affected by poverty.
Headteachers must develop a rationale for use of the funding, based on a clear contextual analysis which identifies the poverty related attainment gap in their schools and plans must be grounded in evidence of what is known to be effective at raising attainment for children affected by poverty.
Pupil Equity Fund cannot be used to fund capital projects such as building renovations.
How is the Scottish Government supporting local authorities and schools to use their Pupil Equity Funding?
National operational guidance has been provided to support headteachers and other school leaders to spend any funds they receive - this includes key principles on the use of the funding.
Other support includes access to online tools with effective educational interventions and strategies based on practical examples from around Scotland. For more information visit Education Scotland's National Improvement Hub.
How will we ensure the Pupil Equity Fund is used effectively to reduce the gap?
Headteachers will be accountable to their local authority for the use of the funding and will be expected in incorporate details of Pupil Equity Fund into the existing reporting process to their Parent Council and Forum, including in their annual School Improvement Plans and Standards and Quality Reports. These reports should be publicly available so that parents can understand what is happening in their school.
At a national level, the National Improvement Framework Evidence Report published annually, brings together available current evidence on achievement, attainment, health and wellbeing, and the wider education system, with a specific focus on differences between children living in the most deprived and least deprived areas. Based on experimental teacher judgement data, this presents a picture of Scottish education, based on a wide range of evidence sources.
Why aren't we giving the Pupil Equity Fund to nurseries?
The Government is committed to developing high quality, flexible early learning and childcare (ELC) which is affordable and accessible for all. From August 2014, free entitlement to ELC increased to 600 hours per year, equivalent to around 16 hours per week if delivered during school term time.
However, we are committed to increasing the early learning and childcare entitlement to 1,140 hours per year by 2020, and to fully funding this expansion. This will continue to cover all 3 and 4 year old children, and eligible 2 year olds. High quality will be at the heart of ELC provision, as will providing the flexibility parents need to work, train or study.
Whilst the Pupil Equity Fund is predominately focused on supporting pupils in P1-S3 it may, in some circumstances, benefit young people in Early Learning and Childcare (ELC) settings, for example through funding interventions that impact on transitions between school stages, i.e. nursery to primary 1. Headteachers should work in partnership with each other, and their local authority, to agree the use of the funding
Why does the funding stop at S3?
We are concentrating funding across primary and the earlier years of secondary to ensure that young people receive the support they need to progress effectively into the senior phase of their education. However, the funding may be used to support transition between school stages.
Further, elements of the Scottish Attainment Challenge already support secondary schools in the areas of greatest deprivation to undertake projects right across their schools, including a range of supported study programmes.
Do pupils/parents/school community/third sector get a say in how the money is spent?
Yes, parents and the local community are a valuable source of support and partnership and schools are encouraged to think creatively about the ways they work with families, carers, the third sector and others about the use of the money.
Schools will be expected to incorporate details of the Pupil Equity Fund into the existing reporting process to their Parent Council and Forum, including in their annual School Improvement Plans and Standards and Quality Reports. These reports should be publicly available so that parents can understand what is happening in their school.
Pupil Equity Fund: information for parents and carers gives more information.
Is there funding for children living in deprivation with additional support needs (ASN)?
The Additional Support for Learning Act places clear duties on education authorities to identify, provide for and to review the additional support needs of their pupils. Headteachers should consider additional steps that might be required to close the educational attainment gap for pupils affected by poverty who may also have additional support needs.
The Scottish Government
Tel: 0131 244 4000 or 0300 244 4000 (for local rate throughout UK and for mobile)